Hidden advertising, influencers in the EU’s sights: investigation announced

The European Commission announces a crackdown on influencer marketing. What is in all respects a pillar of the digital economy, should reach a global value of 19.98 billion euros in 2023; however it leaves wide margins for misleading advertising. “In the coming weeks, the European Commission and the national authorities of the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network will examine online posts to identify testimonials and sponsorships that deceive consumers,” reads a note from the European executive.

EU: disseminate announcements in a transparent way

“Influencers involved in regular commercial activities, such as brand deals to advertise products or services, are considered traders under EU consumer law. They are required to disclose advertisements in a transparent way. The result of this analysis of social media will feed into the digital fairness fitness check which helps assess whether new legislation is needed to make digital markets as safe as offline ones”, they say again from Brussels.

The Influencer Legal Hub is launched

Furthermore, the Commission has launched an Influencer Legal Hub. It is a platform where influencers and content creators can find information on EU legislation on fair trading practices, which will help them comply with the rules. “The influencer business is thriving and many consumers, often young people or even children, trust their advice,” explains the Commissioner for Justice and Consumer Protection, Didier Reynders. “This business model, however, also comes with legal obligations. Influencers must also follow good business practices and their followers have the right to transparent and reliable information. Our Influencer Legal Hub will be of great help to all industry players to understand the rules”. He adds: “The Influencer Legal Hub offers animated video training courses and a library of resources developed in collaboration with academic experts. Influencers can learn about their legal obligations, in particular when, where and how they should disclose their advertising activities on social media, what they should do in relation to professional due diligence and what rights consumers have when purchasing products or services directly from them.”